Title: "He gave you what I couldn't"
Author: Daphne Email: Archive: let me know if you want to put it elsewhere Disclaimer: I don't owe them and I have no money, so don't so me.
Category: H/M Rating: PG-13 - one or two words and some innuendo Summary: Harm goes to have a talk with Mac, picks up at the end of "Take it Like a Man"
Spoilers: Anything up to "Take it" is fair game, but most spoilers are "Take it" related Author Note: Well, I started this story right after "Take it" aired the first time and I had a whole story in mind. But then for some reason, I wrote half of it and stopped. And by the time I continued it, I couldn't remember my initial idea...so anyway...this is what came out of it, lol.

"...he hurt someone I love."

"I love you too."

Mac stared at him, too shocked to speak. She could see the love in his eyes and suddenly she felt like the walls we closing in around her. Pulling her hands from his, she stood abruptly. "I have to go, Clay."

He jumped slightly. "What do you mean? Sarah, sit down."

"I can't, Clay. I have to go. I'm sorry." She gathered her stuff and pulled on her coat.

"Sarah, I don't understand." He stood and went to her, placing his hands on her shoulders.

"Don't touch me, Clay." She said softly and turned, heading for the door.

"Don't do this to us, Sarah. Don't walk out."

"You're right, I need time to get over it. And I need to be alone to do it."

"You don't have to be alone anymore." He said gently. "I'm here."

"Yeah, you're here until that phone rings and you disappear on me again."

"Sarah-...I thought you loved me."

"Clay, I, I do, but I don't know that I'm in love with you. And even if I am, I don't think I can't live like that. I want a family. I want security. I want to feel safe and I don't want to have to take care of myself. I don't want to be with an alcoholic again. I want-..."

"Harm. You want Harm." He said grudgingly.

Mac's eyes widened. "I didn't say that."

"No, you didn't. But the other day when I brought him up, the look on your face said it all. And then you informed me that I didn't have what it takes to make you happy. So answer me honestly, Sarah. Does Harm have what it takes? Can he give you everything you want? Can he make you happy? And if the answer to all that is yes, then why, after knowing him for eight years were you still single? Why did he ignore you for six months?"

Mac's gaze fell to her feet. "I don't know the answers to those questions, Clay. That's why I need time to think. It isn't fair to any of us if I do to you what I did to Mic. I have to figure everything out."

He nodded slightly. "I'm only a phone call away, Sarah." He whispered.

Without another word, she left, driving straight home.

AN HOUR LATER Mac's Apartment Georgetown

Mac sat silently, a blanket over her legs as she stared into the dancing flames in the fireplace. She was so completely lost in thought that she didn't even hear the knocking at the door, nor did she hear the key enter the lock and the door open slowly. It wasn't until she felt a hand on her shoulder that she jumped out of her thoughts. "Harm? What are you doing here?"

He smiled very faintly. "Hello to you too."

Mac returned the smile. "Sorry, you just startled me."

"I noticed. Mind if I sit down?"

Mac shook her head and moved the blanket out of his way and watched as he sat down facing her. "So, what are you doing here?"

Harm was silent for several long minutes before he took a deep breath and started to speak. "I just wanted to let you know a couple things. One, I do recognize what you've been through. And I hate that I couldn't protect you from that. I hate that you're in pain and I'd give anything to take that from you. And two, I just wanted to let you know that...Mac, I'll never lose interest in you. You're my best friend, Mac. You have been for a long time and if I have anything to say about it, you always will be."

Mac blinked a few times. "You mean that?"

"Mac, I know that things have been...different since Paraguay. And I'm sorry for that. I really am. I've missed my best friend more than I could ever say."

"I...I don't know what to what to say, Harm." She said very softly.

"You told me once that I'd never lose you. Please tell me that that's still true." He reached out and gently tilted her chin up with his fingertips, forcing her to meet his eyes. "Please, Sarah..." The fear was audible in his soft voice.

A shiver ran down her spine at the desperate look in his eyes. "You'll never lose me, Harm." She whispered.

A smile slowly spread across his face. "I'm very glad to hear that." His sincerity startled her. "Now, are you going to tell me why you were so deep in thought when I got here?"

"Harm, I don't want to bother you with my personal problems."

"Hey, look at me." He waited for her to comply. "It doesn't bother me at all. I want to know what you're thinking...what you're feeling...talk to me."

She couldn't help but smile faintly. "It's Clay. He told me that he loves me."

Harm swallowed hard, despair flickering over his features. "So, I'm already too late." He whispered, almost inaudibly.

"What do you mean?"

"He...he gave you what I couldn't. He said the words."

"Harm...I told him that I had to think. I just...he's been drinking more and it's too tempting for me."

"What do you mean?"

"He left a glass out. I was so close to drinking the rest of it." She admitted softly.

He took her hand, squeezing it gently. "But...you didn't right?" He asked gently.

She shook her head. "I couldn't bring myself to do it." She sat quietly for a moment. "I've been with an alcoholic before, Harm. I can't go through that again, Harm...I just can't do it."

Harm tensed. "Has he hurt you?"

Mac shook her head. "No. But, Chris didn't hurt me when we first met either. And my parents were happily married for a year before he started using her as a punching bag."

He reached up and tenderly tucked her hair behind her ear.

"And it's not just the alcohol. He promised that he'd be there for me...that I wouldn't have to wonder...he promised he wouldn't be like..." She stopped, her hand coming up to her mouth.

"Like me?" He asked softly.

"Harm, I just...I..."

"Shh...it's okay, Mac. I'm here to listen."

She took a deep breath. "He kept walking out when I needed him most. He said he wasn't going to deal with me when I was upset." Mac sighed heavily. "I told him that he didn't have what it takes to make me happy."

"Do I?" Harm asked hopefully.

"Clay thinks that you do."

"He does?" He asked, a bit surprised.

"He said that I had never had a consistent relationship in my life...with the exception of you. And that you being unavailable has given me something to hide behind. Before I came home, we got in a fight about you. He's always been threatened by you, Harm...ever since the very beginning."

Harm began to smile slowly. "Does he have a reason to be threatened?"

Mac's gaze fell to the carpet. "Harm, I can't keep playing this cat and mouse game. It's too draining and it's too painful. And I'm not getting any younger, Harm."

"What if the mouse wants to be caught by the cat, though? What if I don't want to play games anymore?"

Her brown eyes widened. "You mean..." She swallowed hard.

"Mac, I can make you happy. I know I have what it takes, you just have to give me a chance...you have to give us a chance, Sarah."

Mac stood and went to the window, staring blankly out at the stars. "Harm...you...can you really let go?"

He smiled softly. "Sarah, I lo..." A knock at the door caused them both to jump.

"Hold that thought." Mac made her way to the front door and pulled it open. "Cl..Clay...what are you doing here?"

Clay went to kiss her lips, only to make contact with her cheek when she turned away. "I just wanted to make sure you were okay...can I come in?"

"Clay, this isn't a good time."

"Why? What's wrong?" It was then that he noticed Harm standing in the middle of the room. "Hey, Rabb...what brings you by?"

"Just clearing the air...Mac?"

"I..." She looked from one man to the other.

Clay pulled her gently, but possessively into his arms. "Well, it's getting pretty late. I'm sure Mattie's getting worried about you."

"I told Mattie not to wait up." He smiled faintly. "But Mac and I were in the middle of a very important conversation. And I believe she said that this wasn't a good time."

"Well, whatever you were talking about, you can discuss at work tomorrow. I'd like to spend time with my girlfriend before I have to go out of town again."

"You're going out of town again? Why am I not surprised? Mac's going through something right now and you don't even have the decency to take some time off to help her through it. So much for always being there when she needs you."

"You hypocrit! Where were you for the six months after Paraguay? She needed you. She kept asking if you were okay since you 'didn't have the decency' to return her numberous calls. And you're supposed to be her best friend. Yet, you wouldn't even give her the time of day. You do it all the time, Harm. WHenever she really needs you, you're too busy for her. When Mic left, you turned her away for Renee. When Chris came back, you turned her away for Bobbie. And those are just the instances that I know about. So why should she trust you now? Huh?"

Mac's eyes began to fill with doubt. "Harm...maybe you should head home. Clay's right, it's getting late. But thank you for coming by."

"Mac, don't do this." Harm pleaded. "We were finally getting somewhere...I meant everything I said. Look, I know I made mistakes, but that was the past. Give me a chance to make up for it."

"Harm, I'm sorry. But, I don't think that I can take the risk again. Not now. You said it yourself...I'm going through something right now...I can't get my heart broken by you again."

"I won't break your heart, Mac."

"Harm...you said it...Clay gave me what you couldn't. After all these years, you still can't give it to me."

Harm reached out and took her hand, pulling her gently out of Clay's arms. He held her tightly against his chest, her arms trapped between them as he stared deeply into her brown eyes which were full of surprise. "I can give it to you."

Mac looked away as emotions threatened to overwhelm her.

"Look at me, Sarah." He whispered, waiting until she complied to continue. He smiled softly. "Sarah Catherine Mackenzie, I love you. I've been in love with you for...God, it's been a long time. I love you and I know that I can make you happy, just give me the chance."

"Sarah, c'mon, you know him...he's just messing with you. He always does this when you're not available." Clay pleaded. "C'mon, Sarah."

Mac looked from Clay and back up into Harm's eyes that were so full of love and hope... "There's one problem with that statement, Clay. He's doing this...yes, but I am available." She smiled as Harm gave her the biggest Flyboy grin she'd ever seen.

"Sarah, don't do this.."

"Clay, you and I both knew that it you and I weren't meant to be. And I just...you refuse to get help...and that isn't good for me...neither is your drinking. Clay, I really think you need to talk to someone." She said gently. "You're destroying yourself, Clay...and I really do care about you...but I can't let you destroy me too. And you knew in Paraguay how I felt about Harm."

Clay nodded slightly. "Yeah...I did. I guess I just thought...hell, I knew you'd never feel about me like you felt about him. But, I thought...maybe that if Harm screwed up enough...even if you didn't love me, I could love you enough for both of us."

"Clay, you deserve better than that."

"So do you, Sarah. And Rabb? You better be good to her."

"Trust me, Webb...I plan on being very good to her. I love her too much to let her slip away from me again. But take her advice, Webb...get some help. I like you when you're not going after the woman I love." Harm joked lightly.

Clay chuckled sadly. "Maybe you're both right. I'll definitely think about. But...I've got a flight out first thing tomorrow, so...I better go pack. Goodbye, Sarah...I hope he does have what it takes to make you happy. You deserve it."

"So do you, Clay...take care of yourself...and call when you're in town..."

"Unless you want us to do a mission." Harm added quickly.

"I'm never going to make that mistake again." Clay said solemnly. "Take care of her, Rabb."

"I will."

With that, Clay turned and left, not looking back at the couple who were still locked in a loving embrace.

Harm looked down into her eyes again. "You okay?"

She nodded slightly. "I'm worried about him. I really hope that he gets help before it's too late."

"He's stubborn, Mac. But, he's not stupid. And he lost the best thing that's ever happened to him because he was refusing to get help, so maybe he'll realize now that he really does need it."

"I hope so. I really do, Harm."

"But...Mac?"

"yeah?"

"Well...I just...I said that I loved you, but..."

"But what, Harm?"

"But you didn't say it back.."

Mac couldn't help but laugh at the hurt little boy face he was giving her. "I didn't huh? Well...Harmon David Rabb Jr., I love you too."

Harm beamed and picked her up, spinning around with her in his arms. "Now that only leaves one question."

"What's that?"

"Who gets to be on top first?" He smirked.

THE END